hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Apr. 13th, 2010 09:23 pm)
The offices of Dr Robert Morrow, of Riverdale, are staffed by idiots who can't follow simple instructions.

Since January of 2008, we've been having the following conversation:

Me: My insurance is XYZ. Bill them for this visit.

Them: We billed Insurance 123 and they will not pay. You owe us $100.

Me: That is because my insurance is XYZ, not 123. Bill insurance XYZ.

Them: Oh, okay. The last girl who worked here was a bit of a ditz.

Months pass.

Them: We billed Insurance 123 and they will not pay. You owe us $100.

Me: That is because my insurance is XYZ, not 123. Bill insurance XYZ.

Them: Oh, okay.

Months pass.

Them: We billed Insurance 123 and they will not pay. You seriously owe us $100. Pay up or we will set the dogs debt collectors on you.

Me: What part of "bill XYZ not 123" do you not understand?

Them: Oh, we need to bill XYZ? Sorry, the last girl who worked here was a bit of a ditz.

Months pass.

Them: We billed Insurance 123 and they will not pay. You owe us $100.


Insurance: Claim denied. Reason: Claim Not Filed By Filing Deadline.

It infuriates me - INFURIATES ME - that I pay $370 a month in health insurance plus office visit fees to enable this kind of idiocy.

Is there an adult way of saying to the office "Don't even THINK about trying to bill me for this. This is COMPLETELY YOUR OWN FUCKING FAULT and if you try to lay this one on me I am probably going to come up to your stupid office and scream and throw things"?

So yeah. Dr Morrow of Riverdale. Office of fools. You'll probably go in for antibiotics and he'll cut your foot off. Steer clear.
There's quite the lightning storm going on out there. I'm at the airport, so I have an unusually large amount of horizon to look at, and the lightning's the kind that plays acriss the sky as far as you can see, back and forth, these gigantic parallel streaks filling the sky and flicking off again.

It's the strange kind of lightning storm that fills the sky but makes no sound. There's no rain, no thunder, just the sky lighting up, like headlights across a ceiling, but it's the biggest ceiling *ever* and the biggest headlights too. Every so often a bigger whopper than usual breaks through and you can see the bolt shaking itself into the ground.

There might be thunder, actually; I'm wearing earplugs because someone's talking about healthcare on the piped television and it makes me mad to listen to white dudes with health insurance pontificating about why the existing system is made of cookies. Cos from where I'm standing it's a question of "how many people have to be permanently crippled from inadequate care before you start feeling sorry enough for them that you want your health money to pay healthcare costs rather than insurance executives," which seems like something of a no-brainer to me; I'd much rather my friends got treatment than that we should pay for some twerps in an office to shuffle claim forms and misfile things. I mean per capita the US could spend what the UK spends, and everyone would have health care, and there'd still be bloody masses left over, and we could use it for unemployment benefits for those recently fired from insurance companies. Anyway, I'm wearing earplugs, so if there is thunder I can't hear it. But I don't think there is.

Talking of health insurance, as part of my divorce paperwork, I and he have to submit a form which says: I [NAME] fully understand that upon the entrance of this divorce agreement, I may no longer be allowed to receive health coverage under my former spouse's health insurance plan. I may be entitled to purchase health insurance on my own through a COBRA option, if available, otherwise I may be required to secure my own health insurance.

That is, before your divorce is admitted for the consideration of the court, you have to turn in a sworn statement to the effect that you understand just how much a divorce can bollocks up your healthcare. I know that benefits and pensions and stuff can play a part when deciding whether to get divorced or not, but healthcare - and sworn statements - sheesh.

For those not used to the US system: there's this magical thing called a pre-existing condition, you see; if you have ever been sick before you are a Bad Risk. If you actually have real chronic problems and need to get your own insurance after your divorce you'd better marry a doctor pronto, and if you once got sick ten years ago and got better and didn't think it worth mentioning you'd better pray you never need expensive treatment because then the insurance company digs that up and says "oo you had a pre-existing condition your insurance is invalidated now we don't have pay your bills NEH NEH NEH and btw you owe the hospital several hundred thousand dollars" and you're screwed again. So getting your own insurance isn't necessarily going to happen, even if you've got a job that offers it. Oh, your insurance premiums pay for the dirt-digging peons as well. It's in their interest to deny you care so they put a lot of effort into it. Ugh.

The downside of watching spectacular electrical storms from the airport is that...they close the airport. Planes are great big Faraday cages so people in planes are okay, but I suppose it's dangerous for the ground crews, and I spose it might fry the tyres as well.
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Aug. 13th, 2009 10:14 am)
Comment on the healthcare debate (which you may have noticed I have not been commenting on).

Quote from a random American, on why private health insurance is much better than a publically-funded system:

I just don't think it's right to have to subsidize other people's insurance.

What on earth do you think insurance is? It's a system of shared subsidisation based on an assessment of collective risk, but adding a nice whack for the shareholders. Zounds, but this foolishness wearies me.

This apropos of the US Right's recent effort to prove that publically-funded healthcare is Evil, by claiming that Steven Hawking wouldn't have lived to grace the world had he been born in the UK.

This is obviously stupid; what's additionally interesting is how it's a lovely example of the smouldering tissue of invented truths, lack of fact-checking, wild assumptions, and smoke blown out by stirring same, being presented as reasoned debate in this country.
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Jul. 31st, 2009 06:55 pm)
I have a kind of lurgy whose effects mimic those of a bang on the head. So I'm perpetually dizzy and a bit disoriented, slightly nauseous, and very tired, but minus the actual bang on the head.

Unfortunately, of course, all my gainful employment requires a good deal of brain, and can't be done with this kind of impairment. So, for instance, I would like to write you something terribly profound connecting this post of Slacktivist's with something tircha said about the first chapter of Eicha, but it ain't going to happen this year.

So instead I will share some photos of a scarf I finished a while ago. Can't remember if I've already shared these (lack of brain), but they're still pretty.


and here look this is me wearing it and holding some feathers


I'm going to do a piece of headgear with the remaining yarn for when I am leyning at my shul and have to wear headgear. Ladykippah sort of thing.

Anyone on Ravelry, by the way?
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Apr. 14th, 2009 02:27 pm)
Having received an unexpected bill from the doctor's office, I gathered my metaphorical spoons, girded my metaphorical loins, and telephoned the insurance company.

Well, let the record show that:
* the phone was answered at once
* the person on the other end wasn't in a bad temper
* and communicated clearly, without using insurerspeke
* they agreed it wasn't my problem
* and are not denying payment
* it's just that the doctor's billing cycle and the insurance's paying cycle don't quite match up
* so it's okay
* and she didn't make like I was a fool for not knowing that already.

Thanks, universe!

And for your viewing pleasure, under cut: )

Hilarious (read the product reviews)

Breaking news shocker, exercise won't make you thin if you're already at your body's optimal weight

scary - I didn't know heat from candleholders could ignite tables.

Serious effort to combat Artscroll's dominance in the siddur market. Winning quote: It is almost like the ArtScroll siddur is a household word - er, "almost"??

This made me very very happy and is completely non-political.
I've spent most of my life thus far internalising the message that the more invisible I am, the better. The less I exist, the more I'll be loved. I'm a Girl; my place is to fit quietly into the blanks, take up no space, and wait to be loved, and the less space I take up, the more lovable I am.

What's not okay, ever, is demanding attention. Even to the degree of saying "I would like" or "I need," and certainly not to the extent of expressing anger or boundaries. Nice girls don't go around asserting themselves at people. Taking up space isn't feminine. When you take up space, you're putting yourself forward and Not Being A Good Girl.

Taking up space is what Unwomanly Women do. Nice Girls squash themselves into the smallest volume possible.

Similarly: feminine, attractive, desirable women are thin. Fat is bad. Nice Girls reduce themselves as much as possible, emotionally and physically. The less you impose yourself on people, the more you'll be loved. The more you lessen yourself, the more feminine you are. If you're thinner than thin, you'll be super-feminine and super-lovable.

Since of course the ideal is the woman who exists only to tend her men's egos, who has no needs or desires to get in the way of that, who does not do inconvenient things like assert herself, it follows that you can never be too thin.

If you are happy with your body, that's basically the same thing as saying it's okay to exist. It's okay to have boundaries. It's okay to assert yourself. It's okay to want things, to get angry about things, to have opinions about things.

And, good grief, if you're fat and actually okay with that, that's almost like saying it's okay to take up more space than other people! It might even mean that you're one of those women who puts herself forward, heaven forbid. Who puts herself first. Can you imagine anything more unfeminine? Ugh.

You see, even though we're nominally a more-or-less egalitarian society, really we still find assertive women pretty scary. Men are allowed to get angry. Women aren't. Men are allowed to have desires (particularly for food). Women aren't. Men are allowed to be sexually forward. Women aren't.

Except that, unaccountably, women keep getting the wrong idea and taking up space. But it's okay, because even though it's not politically correct any more to ridicule assertive women, it's okay to ridicule fat women. Women who enjoy premarital sex don't get locked up in asylums any more, but doctors are still allowed to tell shapely women they're the wrong shape. And so is everyone else.

It's still okay to tell women they need to reduce themselves. It's okay to tell women they should exist less. Just make like you're talking about their bodies and not about their beings. They'll get the message.
hatam_soferet: (toothpaste)
( Aug. 22nd, 2008 05:18 pm)
I fell over again! Only this time in daylight. I was - rather ambitiously - running up the road, trying to catch up with [livejournal.com profile] jillt, and carrying a weekend bag and wearing sandals with A Bit Too Much Heel. Then my ankle gave way and slipped out from under me, and I pitched forward and landed full-length on the pavement, with an ankle going OW OW OW OWWWWW. I knew it was still twingy from last week, but I didn't think it was actually weakened enough to be unreliable. How educational!

However. I was about 10 metres in front of a chap who caught up with me and started to ask if I was OK, and quickly realised I wasn't so instead started doing things like checking if it was broken. "Nurse in mufti," I thought, and indeed he was. There's a major school of nursing right up our road, see. If you're going to fall over spectacularly, doing it near a regional nursing centre is totally the way to do it.

I'd twisted my poor ankle good and properly, and I'm the kind of squeamish that really doesn't like seeing its own ankle swelling up disproportionately. So as soon as I saw how weird it looked, my head started swimming and oozing in and out, and next thing I knew there were two nurses. Luckily Nurse 2 was female and be-uniformed, so I knew I wasn't just seeing doubles. So there's me, lying on the pavement being fussed over by two nurses, and next thing I know there's a policeman leaning out of a ginormous police van asking what's up.

Right? So now I've got two nurses and a policeman, and [livejournal.com profile] jillt is merrily continuing up the road, expecting me to catch her up, unaware that I'm prioritising getting friendly with the pavement. The policeman - nice chap - cruised off up the road to fetch her; this is the first time [livejournal.com profile] jillt has been pursued by police.

Total count now: me, two nurses, a policeman, and jillt. And a huge police van. Whee!

I might've gone home for a cup of tea, next, but I had a non-amendable ticket to Cambridge and I wasn't going to forfeit that, only I'd wasted rather a lot of time falling over and being dizzy and stuff and wasn't in a state to run for any bus, so the last bit was thanking the nice nurses and getting a ride to the bus stop in the police van (I have never done this before). The people at the bus stop gave me Very Odd Looks when I lurched out and waved byebyes, haha. Then they gave me a Wide Berth and made room on the bench.

Now I'm in Cambridge, with a lot of bandage courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] pseudomonas, and walking somewhat gingerly because there's still rather more ankle than there ought to be and accordingly it can protest that bit more strongly at being walked on. Ought to be more or less okay in a few days, although Nurse 1 said it'd probably take six weeks or so to be fully better.

Anyway, Nurse 1, Nurse 2, and Mr Policeman have to a degree restored my faith in arbitrary altruism. I now know that if you choose your time and place with care, falling over and crocking your ankle doesn't have to be a solitary experience.
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Jul. 9th, 2008 08:44 pm)
Paracetamol with codeine is really amazing for pain relief, but it does make me a little bit woozier than I would like. I'm not exactly tripping (dash it! if I've got to have earache, you'd think I could get some entertainment out of it) but I'm just enough out of my usual headspace that I don't like to write Torah. It doesn't seem quite right, somehow. Not able to bring enough focus to the job.
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Apr. 9th, 2008 06:59 pm)
Q-tip boxes always say Do Not Insert Into Inner Ear Or Nose Canal, and I always thought that was one of those idiot warnings like you get on coffee cups, Contents May Be Hot - sort of Do Not Shove These In So Deep That They Get Stuck In Your Hippocampus. But no, it is not an idiot warning.

Really it should say If You Rub Even A Little Bit Too Hard, You Will Probably Get An Infection, And It Will Be Incredibly Painful For Several Days, And You Will Have To Take Scary Amounts Of Scary Painkillers; You Won't Be Able To Sleep, Hear, Or Chew, And You Will Heartily Regret Having Disregarded This Warning.

I guess they don't really have space for that. Well, now I know better, and now you do too.
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Sep. 27th, 2006 08:21 pm)
Chances are, if you visit this journal, you're interested in women. So you should all go read cutting-room previews from Hanne Blank's Virgin: The Untouched History. Then you should remind yourselves that these are the bits which didn't make it into the book, and you should go pre-order your copy. Because you have no idea how much it affects you.
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Sep. 19th, 2006 05:05 pm)
I want to find a different doctor, because I don't see eye-to-eye with my current one about birth control (she prescribed me brand Y, which promptly put twenty pounds on my tummy. Her advice? Cut out carbs*).

My insurance theoretically has a searchable database, but it doesn't work; half the time it just says Incorrect Parameter and the rest of the time it denies the existence of doctors of any kind anywhere in Riverdale. I tried Superpages, but that wasn't awfully helpful. I'm a bit annoyed. It really seems that walking the streets until I find a doctor's office will be the most efficient way to do it, which really seems stupid.

* which makes me so angry for so many reasons it's not even worth starting
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( May. 25th, 2006 09:30 pm)
sick. sore throat. :(
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Mar. 18th, 2006 10:34 pm)
The rest of the week didn't contain all that much. Some reading of halacha, some reading of articles. Mostly recovering from the several nights last week when it was necessary to stay up into the wee hours working. Tomorrow the plan is to go and write Hebrew names in Westchester for a few hours, and then come home and work on 's mezuzot.

In an interesting departure from the norm, I sneezed this morning and in so doing threw my back out of joint, so now sitting, bending etc are distinctly careful operations.

Oh, and you can tell it's spring now, because the haze over the city has turned that special spring-time shade of pale brown, and daffodils are two bunches for $5.
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Feb. 13th, 2006 10:09 pm)

a) my happy pills arrived, so I can stand up without falling over
b) the snow is pretty, even though there is a deep slushy lake barring the entrance to the subway. It is still awfully pretty. And nice to go STOMP STOMP in.
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Feb. 12th, 2006 10:05 am)
The prescription people have four rules:

1. You can have only thirty days' worth of pills.
2. You may only order a refill twenty days in.
3. A prescription takes three to five business days to fill
4. and a further five to seven business days to ship.

It does not take a genius to spot that it's quite likely that one will run out of medication. Now, "maintenance medication" is exempt from this, you can have ninety days at a time, so fortunately you can stay alive.

My happy pills don't count as maintenance, even though without them I'm liable to become dysfunctionally depressed and certain to become dysfunctionally dizzy. Good thing I don't need to drive for e.g. my job, because I'd be crashing into things. Good thing I don't need to stand up a whole lot. Good thing it's a snow day so I don't have to go teach today.

Their response? "According to our records, you should have eight days left of your medication." Well, I don't. I don't have any. I am glad to have health insurance, but sometimes I wish that the executives who made the rules had the same insurance I do.
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Jan. 19th, 2006 08:13 pm)
Dear People Who Make Yasmin,

Thank you for supplying a cute little purple suede wallet with my month's supply of contraception. But may I ask, what is with that? The cute little purple suede wallet says "handbag," to me. It says "carry your pills discreetly in your bag." Sort of like the tampon carrier they gave us in school, actually, which was designed to resemble lipstick, so that one could carry tampons without - God forbid - appearing to be carrying tampons.

But tampons and contraceptive pills have a fundamental difference. You yourselves make it plain that it is very important to take the pill at the same time every day (which clearly is not true of a tampon). For most of us, this means when we get up in the morning or when we go to bed at night. Nobody takes their contraception at lunchtime.

So why are you providing me with a discreet means of carrying my contraception in my handbag? It seems that you are not expecting me to go to bed in the same location every night. Worse, you are assuming that I do not know one night where I intend sleeping the next night. You are, in fact, ascribing to me a quite unwarranted degree of promiscuity. Do you presume all your customers to be lustful teenagers who sneak into their boyfriends' beds only when they can escape the parental gaze? Perhaps your customers are single women who pick up partners in bars? Or perhaps they need to bring their pills to work so that if the boss's wife is away they can go home with the boss? Evidently you expect only a tiny minority of them go home at night and sleep in their own beds.

Women who use contraception do not necessarily live wanton lives. You may subscribe to the quaintly dated view that no respectable woman needs contraception and therefore anyone who buys your pills needs to carry her pills in her handbag because she does not know with whom she will next be sleeping, but you are not supported by data. You could save a bit of money on those cute little wallets.

hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Jan. 10th, 2006 09:54 pm)
I fed the medical profession again today - they took enough blood for several dinners.

Musings on femininity )
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Jun. 16th, 2005 11:49 pm)
My bat mitzvah student (all together now, chaps) is so amazing. Last week we learned zakef gadol (a very short tune) - we sang it maybe three or four times right at the end. A week later, she needed to hear it sung only twice before she could do it with no trouble at all. Then we looked at a new section; she sang it once through without the words, and then did it with the words, not hesitating, getting all the words right, and all the music right - this kid is hot stuff.

I'd bought her a purple highlighter, cos we use a different colour highlighter each week, and we'd run out of colours. She liked :) And at the beginning of the lesson, she said, ever so seriously, "I think we should take some time today to discuss my summer assignments." I mean gosh. I'd come armed with summer assignments, but to ask for them and make sure we leave time at the end to talk about them properly? That's a little scary in one so young. Notwithstanding the scary keen-ness, she's so very lovely to teach. She has an instinct for getting things right.

I also spent three hours waiting at the doctor's. It's a funny contrast between private medicine in the UK and the US. In the UK, if you go to an NHS doctor, you are, as it were, at the bottom of the food chain, and they think nothing of making you wait two or three hours. But if you go to a private doctor, I'm reliably informed, you're seen promptly and hardly have to wait at all. But in the US, although all the medicine is private, since you can only go to the places permitted by your insurance, and since you can't choose your insurance, you have to take what your employer offers (if you don't have an employer, you're up shit creek, basically). Thus you're at the bottom of the food chain again, and get to wait hours to be seen - just like the NHS, but more expensive.

Oh, and a while ago I delivered a ketubah and then had a horrid hunch that I'd left a mistake in it - so I asked its owner to bring it to her office in downtown Manhattan, and I went down there today and discovered that I hadn't left a mistake in it, so that made me very happy. And I got some cheques, for various things.
hatam_soferet: (Default)
( May. 20th, 2005 10:58 am)
I finished making my display for The Dinner. I forgot the camera to take a piccie of it, so you'll all have to wait until after the weekend. But I set it up in one of the classrooms, and people were most admiring, which was nice.

In other news, I'm learning that hayfever medication doesn't go well with happy pills - I'm totally tranquillized. Zzzzzz.